Monday, August 21, 2017

Importance of Dialogue

Satirically addressing our political situation four  syllables are combined which mean: when I do it it's romance when others do it it's immoral. 

After nine years we have a change of government. The progressive government when it does something the old government did we often hear this sly dig at the ruling government. A journalist writing in the Kyeongyang magazine begins his article on dialogue with these words.

In the appointment of the new cabinet members, the opposition lists all the mistakes and faults committed  and asks for their names to be withdrawn. Since the government is now in power they do their best to defend each one and usually get their way.

'When I do it it's OK, when you do it is wrong' has now entered the world of big business, organizations and the individual. The phrase has entered daily parlance.  Each one uses their own yard stick to judge.  Our egoistical human nature shows itself clearly. We have a tendency, he says, to use our own measurements to judge and act to benefit ourselves. If this was not true competition would find no place in society.

To live in society we have to realize that others like myself have this self love. Socrates tells us to know ourselves. We need to objectively examine ourselves. We have to go beyond  this self-love, we are not the center of the world and need to accept our place in society.

In June there was a forum that considered the position of religion in the work of justice and reconciliation. Two of the speakers concluded with the same emphasis on dialogue which surprised many.

A Buddhist monk mentioned that the meaning of the word justice is not the same for all. The word used in North Korea does not have the same meaning as in the South. In the 21st century with  peace and conflict attempts are made to have a win/win approach to dialogue. Buddha did not refuse to dialogue even with the devil. It is the way to perform miracles. He mentioned 9 conditions and the first is to see the other as a companion.

A priest who was the head of diocesan peace and justice committee expressed himself somewhat differently. The dignity of the person and the common good is central to justice, and dialogue is important and went on to explain. He gives the example of  man who lost everything and prays to God for help in winning the lottery: no luck this week and the following week. He goes into the church and with anger in his voice asks God to give him the winning ticket in the lottery.

As he was leaving the church he hears a voice from behind.  "Hey, before you pray to win the lottery for heaven's sake buy a ticket." Prayer is not a monologue. He feels the relationship is very much like the above person asking God for help without doing what is necessary.

Pope Francis in Laudatio Si reminds us we are all living in a common house. The president of the United States to protect the industry and workers of his country decided to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.

Our life is a series of choices. My choice will  influence my neighbor. The harder it is to find the correct answer the more we need to listen to the opinions of others, discuss and look for a reasonable solution. We invite God with our prayer, make the right judgement an act accordingly.

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